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Community Impact

Mar 01, 2019

Designing Boston: Building Community panel

Designing Boston Building Community panel banner

Image courtesy of BSA Staff.

On February 27, 2019, almost 100 people filled BSA Space’s Salt gallery for the Designing Boston: Building Community Panel.

In concert with In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility, an exhibition showcasing innovative architectural practices that reimagine the architect’s contribution toward the public good, this panel explored what it means to practice public interest and publicly engaged design.

Led by Gretchen Rabinkin AIA, Executive Director of Boston Society of Landscape Architects, each panelist discussed how their own work explored the goals of public interest design. Gail M. Sullivan FAIA, Managing Principal at Studio G Architects, discussed their efforts to create a safe and beneficial space for Y2Y Harvard Square, a student-run overnight shelter for homeless teens. Studio G Architects designed individual “pods” and created separate spaces for showers and toilets. This simple idea gave overnight guests the privacy and safety that were needed, in a gender neutral environment without the need for exclusivity. Other panelists – Sam Batchelor, Partner at designLAB architects and a faculty at Mass College of Art, along with Patricia Nobre, Senior Design Strategist at Gensler, spoke about creating spaces for the public, whether locally at Providence Public Library in Rhode Island, or at SOLA, a female only boarding school in Afghanistan designed to create a safe and enriching environment for women to learn. After lively panel discussion and audience participation, the evening ended in a spirit of engagement, with a commitment to continue engaging the public in design decisions.